In honor of National Black History Month and Mardi Gras, I want to feature one of my favorite jazz clarinetist Doreen Ketchens.
I first met Doreen Ketchens in the Spring of 2013 at The University of Southern Mississippi when she performed a special concert for the USM Honors College. The performance was breathtaking because I had rarely heard live jazz like that of Mrs. Ketchens who not only played for two hours but also exposed the audience to the history of New Orleans Jazz and how she came to be a clarinetist.
Mrs. Ketchens is a part of Doreen’s Jazz New Orleans where she is known as Queen Clarinet, the female Louis Armstrong and Lady Louie by critics who have heard her perform. Finally, here are some remarkable facts about Mrs. Ketchens!
- Doreen Ketchens and her husband tour the country and the world as they visit schools and other venues to educate people on the history and culture of New Orleans Jazz.
- Doreen has over 24 albums with the first one was published in 1994.
- She began playing the clarinet in elementary school during the fifth grade.
- Her first choice for an instrument was the flute but quickly decided to play the clarinet.
- She was accepted in New Orleans Center for Creative Arts and Louisiana’s Art Conservatory in New Orleans.
- Doreen Ketchens studied with clarinetist Stanley Weinstein.
- Doreen Ketchens performed her first jazz gig with Lawrence at the 1987 Republican National Convention.
Mrs. Ketchens is an inspiration and launched many people’s curiosity into her unique style of New Orleans Jazz. Find out more or purchase an album from her website at https://www.doreensjazz.com/index.htm .